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Today from the Forums: “True game-changing drivers from each company in the last decade?”

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Today from the Forums, we delve into the topic of drivers from the last 10-years from major manufacturers which have had a game-changing effect. WRX member, PepsiDuck, asks fellow members: “Which drivers (over the last decade) really pushed the bar forward in driver performance? And do you think the latest batch of drivers will make the list?” Our members have been having their say.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • plim123: “2018-19 was probably the biggest collective leap forward in drivers. Ping G400, Titleist TS, Callaway Epic Flash, Cobra F9, Mizuno ST190 (although TM’s M1 was before). Before that, they were a lot of evolutions, not revolutions (Titleist 910-917, ping g10-g30, Callaway Raxr x to x hot to xr16, etc., and Cobra/Mizuno had barely any driver market share).”
  • Titleist84: “Overall biggest advances were adjustable heads for both weight and shafts, as well as maintaining distance on off-center hits.”
  • AmazinBlue: “For Taylormade, it’s to be the SLDR. It brought two major factors to the forefront ok not of custom fitting that is at the center of driver design today. 1. The low/forward CG ti allow for lower spin and higher launch to create greater carry. 2. The sliding moveable weight that has been the staple of TM drivers for years since and Callaway was so threatened they patented every “sliding” term used in describing a driver ever since. Overall the greatest invention was the adjustable hosel adapter, allowing fitters and consumers the opportunity to swap shafts in seconds and find the right shaft for a player, not just the shaft that comes standard.”
  • cardoustie: “TM510tp and 2016 m2. Ping has had multiple, Tisi Tec, original Rapture, g400. Titleist is 975d. Callaway, way back, the first big bertha. EVERYONE has one, ditto for Great Big Bertha and then Biggest Big Bertha. I ignored the ten years.”

Entire Thread: “True game-changing drivers from each company in the last decade?”

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at gmagliocco@outlook.com. Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Craig

    Feb 7, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    There have been some pretty clear generations
    1. Wood drivers
    2. Metal drivers – TaylorMade Burner or Pittsburg Persimmon
    3. Oversize drivers (190cc +) – Big Bertha
    4a. Adjustable drivers – TaylorMade R7
    4b. Mega oversize drivers (300cc +) – Heaps of brands

    4a & 4b were around the same time, although you could argue the Biggest Big Bertha was the original mega oversize at 290cc.

    The introduction of Tour/Subzero drivers get honorable mention.

  2. Tom54

    Feb 7, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    I have to agree with the others about the R510TP that 757 speeder shaft was awesome and gorgeous with the red/chrome graphics. From what I remember was extremely pricey even by today’s standards.

  3. jgpl001

    Feb 7, 2020 at 6:28 am

    Ditto, same combo for me too

    R510TP with the 757 always brings a smile to my face, probably the biggest game changer I ever had back in the day

    Saying that the Original Great Big Bertha was a stunning leap forward at the time of its release and served me well for many years

  4. Moses

    Feb 6, 2020 at 6:28 pm

    The R510 TP was a game changer driver for me. I never hit a driver so long and accurate and it was the first time an OEM gave us a club with a true premium shaft in the legendary Fuji 757. Not so sure I agree with some of the other clubs mentioned above.

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2020

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (10.5 @ 10 degrees, D4 swing weight)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.75 inches)

Fairway wood: TaylorMade SIM Max (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila RIP Alpha 90 X

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue (22 @ 19 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 105 X

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (52-09, 60-10 @ 62 degrees)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Mini
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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